It’s really a provisional baptism. We believe he was christened in the Ethiopian Orthodox church, which is of course a valid baptism. However, in order to be sure (as you really want to be sure your child is baptized of course) and in order to have a Baptismal Certificate so he can receive the other sacraments, we were able to have him have a provisional baptism, today. And it was no less sweet or awesome or joyful.
We were able to have him wear the traditional Ethiopian outfit, handmade for him by his favored caregiver. Just ironing it and putting it on him took my breath at the joy of this connection and continuation. He looks so handsome in it and it is a treasure; no better, no more appropriate, outfit could have been chosen.
We were blessed to be able to have our dear Bishop, our spiritual Father, perform the baptism and the Mass today before it. Although, when Bishop says Mass we get to hear all our favorite (and his) hymns, which had me working very hard not to cry even at the recessional hymn: “Oh God Beyond All Praising.” Especially today, with the adoption of this boy, and with all the families traveling and on my mind, this song got to me. It is one that I posted about before and how it makes me feel connected. And I do.
And really, that, for me, is so much what baptism is about. Connection.We are connected. When we adopt, we connect kids and sibs and new families and races, culture and countries; threads woven together. And with baptism, we are connected, adopted, by God the Father, we are Christ-ened, made to be children of God. We are made anew.
And so this sacrament has so very much meaning for me now, in a way that I could only kind of begin to intellectualize before I began to adopt. I mean, I ‘got it’. But not nearly so deeply as I ‘get it’ now.
And the beauty of it makes me laugh and weep all at the same time. Once again, our life here, when it is at it’s VERY best, is a mere glimmer and reflection of the glory that is what’s real and awaits.
But, oh, it takes my breath away.
And so I started crying and blinking back my tears at the hymn. Then started up again as we were surrounded by family and friends and saw my girlfriends crying as the Bishop took my hand and talked about my job as the mother to this child, this child of God.
Gabriel slept through part of it, through the christening with oil and the sign of the cross, indelibly, sacramentally, on his chest and forehead….until they poured the Holy Water on his sweet curls. Even then, he settled down fast, in my arms – my newly baptized son, as we all repeated our baptismal vows, our statement of faith.
And the veil between this world and the much more real world around us got a little thinner…and it glimmered.
And we all grinned and blinked tears of joy.
Oh happy day!